Pursuing a personal injury claim can be a stressful and frustrating experience. You need to concentrate on healing from your injuries, not worry about how your medical bills will be paid.
Hiring an experienced San Francisco personal injury lawyer can help make the claims process easier. If you are considering hiring an attorney, make the most out of your initial consultations.
Understandably, you probably have a long list of personal injury questions. Prepare for your initial consultations by compiling a list of the most critical questions. Because you will be working closely with an attorney, you need to hire the right firm. You want to choose a lawyer you can trust and whom you feel comfortable around. As you meet with each firm, be sure your list includes these five questions to ask your personal injury lawyer.
Have You Tried Personal Injury Cases Similar to Mine Before?
While most personal injury cases do not make it to trial, some do.
You want to be prepared by asking about an attorney’s past trial experience. You need to feel confident that the attorney you hire has the skills and experience to fight for your rights in front of a jury if necessary.
You want a lawyer with experience in the type of personal injury you suffered. Not all personal injury attorneys specialize in the same types of cases. If you have a serious medical malpractice issue, you don’t want an attorney who has experience only with auto accidents.
Will You Be the Attorney Handling My Case?
Don’t assume that the attorney you speak with at the initial meeting is the attorney who will handle your case. If you are meeting with attorneys who work in large firms, your case could be passed around. Ask upfront who will be working on your case, so there are no surprises. You don’t want to hire a firm based on your comfort with the attorney you met with only to find out a new associate is handling your case.
If the attorney tells you that most communication will go through their paralegal or legal secretary, ask to meet this person. You want to make sure that you can develop a good relationship if most of your communications are with them.
What Are Your Fees and Costs?
One of the most important questions to ask a personal injury lawyer is how they approach fees and costs. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. That means they do not bill you an hourly rate that you pay as you go. Instead, they usually take a percentage of your settlement amount or jury award to cover their fees, court costs, and other legal expenses.
Attorneys who work on a contingency basis don’t get paid unless you recover compensation. With a contingency billing arrangement, you can feel confident that your attorney will do everything possible to win your case, as they don’t want to work for free.
Be sure to ask about whether the attorney will charge you for any case-related costs if you lose. Some attorneys may charge you for court fees and other legal expenses related to your case. By asking ahead of time, you can be sure there are no surprises.
What Is My Case Value?
While a personal injury attorney cannot give you an absolute number that your case will settle for, they can give you an idea of what they feel your case is worth. A knowledgeable attorney can discuss factors that can impact your case’s settlement value, including liability, medical history, amount of treatment, etc.
Be reasonable when you consider the attorney’s answer in your decision-making process. While you may want to choose the attorney who thinks your case is worth the most, remember to be realistic. Don’t make a decision based solely on who threw out the highest number. If the potential settlement figure is significantly higher than all the other attorneys, it’s likely unrealistic.
What Is My Role in the Case?
One of your personal injury questions should also ask about what role you will play in your case. Some clients want to be completely hands-on, while others don’t want to hear anything until the at-fault party’s insurance extends an offer. If you are the person that wants to attend meetings, depositions, and other case-related hearings, you need to ask upfront. Some attorneys may be accommodating, while others will not.
Contact a San Francisco Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in a personal injury accident, you need to speak with an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Contact the Wakeford Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation. When you hire us, you get the personalized attention of a boutique firm combined with a major law firm’s experience. Meet with us and learn more about how we can help you get the compensation you deserve after a devastating personal injury loss in California.